kerrang case study


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• First published June, 1981.• It was initially a supplement to a weekly

music tabloid newspaper called Sounds.• To begin with, it was designed to focus on

heavy metal and rock music, but over time the magazine has evolved with metal and pop punk bands now featuring.

• However, the magazine remains a genre-specific offering, refusing to move outside the metal/goth/heavy rock spectrum.

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Kerrang was initially a supplement that came free with Sounds magazine

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The main image presents typical heavy rock iconography.

As with today’s Kerrang, the colour scheme is dark, with red and black featuring strongly.

The artists listed are heavy metal and rock artists.

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• The name of the magazines is onomatopoeic, as it mimics the sound made by a power chord on an electric guitar.

• The magazine has achieved variable success over the years with sales rising and falling.

• It has tended to adapt to accommodate new sounds on the rock/metal scene. This has helped to increase sales in dark times. However, it has received criticism for this.

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KERRANG! TODAY• Issued weekly.• Costs £2.20 per issue.• Consists of approximately 70 A4 pages,

produced on glossy, full colour paper.• Follows a standard magazine layout,

combining full colour images with bite-size snippets of text on some pages and full colour articles that combine image and text on others.

• Kerrang! Has its own website, radio station and TV channel.

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Full colour articles that combine image with text for a more visually appealing look. It is not unusual to see full length images of artists or to see them performing…

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TARGET AUDIENCE• 18 - 24 years old.• 65% male, 35% female.• Active music enthusiast and purchaser.• Interested in fashion, computer games,

film and TV, skate culture.• Loyal to their friends and favourite

bands, passionate about music, an individual who refuses to follow the crowd, youthful and fun.

• Sees Kerrang! as an authority on rock music and an educator.

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CONTENT• Content is entirely devoted to music

with music/band news and articles, album reviews, gig information and gig guides. Quizzes and Letter pages are present too.

• Bands that commonly feature are: Green Day, 30 Seconds to Mars, My Chemical Romance, Bring Me The Horizon, Slip Knot, You Me At Six.

• The magazine offers free posters, reflecting the largely youth readership.

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STYLE• Kerrang! features a lot of iconography

associated with metal/rock and the scene that surrounds it, e.g. tattoos, piercings, dark make-up, electronic guitars.

• The magazine is visual, image-heavy.• The magazine features a lot of uppercase

text in a distressed font.• Red and black feature most strongly,

along with primary colours like yellow and blue, creating at times a vampiric feel and certainly suggesting a male readership.

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Black, red and yellow feature strongly…

Content is related to metal/rock music and bands…

The magazine is visual and image-heavy…

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MODE OF ADDRESS• Casual, featuring informal words and

phrases that the TA might use.• The tone of expression used by a young

fan of metal/rock is established.• Friendly and down-to-earth, suggesting

a good, friend-to-friend relationship between reader an magazine.

• The language suggests that they ‘get’ rock, take music seriously and that they understand all about rock/metal music and the scene that surrounds it.

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Friendly, informal mode of address…

Abbreviated words to create a more casual, relaxed, snappy tone…

Exclamatory phrases to create a sense of excitement that the audience can share in…


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MODE OF ADDRESSExamples of mode of address:

• ‘When you went as a fan, did you have any mad campsite experiences?’

• ‘Why Leeds rules, why Reading rocks.’• ‘Folk-punk party boys from Cornwall. Ooo-arr!’• ‘...thrash is the key metal movement since

the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. It’s essentially an American update on that British sound, but with the flowery bits replaced by a hardcore punk intensity and speed, and influenced by Motorhead’s Ace of Spades...’

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OWNERSHIP• Owned by Bauer Media. • Bauer is one of the UK’s leading media companies and owns a

whole range of magazines and other media, such as radio stations like Magic 105.4.

• Q, Mojo, Empire and FHM are owned and distributed by Bauer.• The company also owns and distributes a number of magazines

aimed at audiences with niché interests, e.g. car enthusiasts and those into fishing or photography.

• The company claims that it has the most ‘influential brands in UK media’, brands that are ‘relevant, valued and trusted’ above all others.

• 6 out of 10 of the most influential magazines in the UK belong to Bauer.

• Bauer’s radio and TV channels are consistently successful, with their TV channels attracting a larger audience than MTV.

• Bauer promises to deliver magazines that are authentic, fresh, informative, entertaining and that promote action.

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OWNERSHIPBeing owned by Bauer is a good thing for

Kerrang! for the following reasons:• The company is successful and experienced and knows

which strategies to employ to increase sales.• Bauer owns a number of niché magazines, so understands

audiences with specific tastes and interests.• With Mojo and Q amongst its repertoire, it knows how to

successfully manage music magazines. • Bauer also knows how to appeal to male audiences,

having successfully launched titles like FHM and Empire, top-sellers in their respective fields.

• Bauer is the grandfather of cross-media synergy, owning a number of magazines that have sister radio, TV and web platforms. It understands how to make this work in order to maximise its own success and the magazine’s success.